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Royal Australian Air Force
RAAF Badge.svg
Active 31 March 1921 – present
Country Australia
Type Air force
Size 14,313 Active personnel
5,499 Reserve personnel
309 Aircraft
Part of Australian Defence Force
Garrison/HQ Russell Offices
Motto(s) Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
March Royal Australian Air Force March Past
Anniversaries RAAF Anniversary Commemoration – 31 March
Commander-in-chief David Hurley
(As Governor-General of Australia)
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld
Deputy Chief of Air Force Air Vice Marshal Stephen Meredith
Air Commander Australia Air Vice Marshal Joe Iervasi
Warrant Officer of the Air Force Warrant Officer Robert Swanwick
Logo Logo of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg
Roundel Roundel of Australia.svg Roundel of Australia – Low Visibility.svg
Flag Air Force Ensign of Australia.svg
Aircraft flown
Boeing EA-18G, E-7A Wedgetail, Gulfstream G550
Fighter F/A-18 Hornet (A and B), F/A-18F Super Hornet, F-35
Helicopter AgustaWestland AW139
Patrol AP-3C Orion, P8-A Poseidon
Trainer PC-9, PC-21, Hawk 127, B300
Transport C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, Boeing 737, B300, Challenger 600, Airbus A330 MRTT, C-27J Spartan

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), formed in March 1921, is the aerial warfare branch of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It operates the majority of the ADF's fixed wing aircraft, although both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy also operate aircraft in various roles. It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF provides support across a spectrum of operations such as air superiority, precision strikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air mobility, space surveillance, and humanitarian support.

The RAAF took part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts. During the early years of the Second World War a number of RAAF bomber, fighter, reconnaissance and other squadrons served in Britain, and with the Desert Air Force located in North Africa and the Mediterranean. From 1942, many RAAF units were formed in Australia, and fought in South West Pacific Area. Thousands of Australians also served with other Commonwealth air forces in Europe, including during the bomber offensive against Germany. By the time the war ended, a total of 216,900 men and women served in the RAAF, of whom 10,562 were killed in action.

Later the RAAF served in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesia–Malaysia Confrontation and Vietnam War. More recently, the RAAF has participated in operations in East Timor, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, and the military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The RAAF has 259 aircraft, of which 110 are combat aircraft.

Early history

The first plan for an Australian air force was given to the Military Board in 1910. The plan was approved on 22 October, 1912, and five planes were ordered. A flying school was set up on 734 acres (297 ha) of land at Point Cook, Victoria, with the first students starting on 17 August, 1914.

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